The Student Government Association recently approved the sanctioning of Refuge as an official campus club.
Refuge began in 2006 “to provide a safe forum for students to meet, support each other, talk about issues related to sexual orientation and work to end homophobia on Eastern University’s campus,” according to the group’s mission statement.
Typically, SGA’s approval would grant any group full club status, but Refuge’s official confirmation has been delayed.
“Because of its controversial nature, Refuge’s club status decision will also involve faculty and the administration,” SGA president Maggie Stewart said.
The group must acquire the approval of two different groups: the Chancellor’s Cabinet and the Student Development Board.
Eastern has never had an official club that supports the homosexual community before. There is no mention of Eastern’s stance on sexual orientation in Eastern’s handbook, mission statement or doctrinal statement.
Neither is there a set process for approving this type of group as a club. The guidelines for how a controversial group may become a club are being created because of this very situation.
There are a number of possible outcomes for the group: Refuge could become a club with full funding like other Eastern clubs or it could be denied club status. It could also be given full club status but not receive financial funding equal to that of other clubs.
The group’s leaders will meet with the Student Development Board on April 21.
“If you are against homosexuality, what better idea than to use Refuge as a forum,” Refuge co-president Elise Yarnell said.